Birds of the Solstice: Calls of the Black-naped Oriole

on 22nd December 2008

Ever since Gloria Seow mentioned that the Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis) has at least seven different calls, I have been planning to document them – but have not been doing anything until yesterday, the 21st December 2008.

Why yesterday? The winter solstice falls at exactly 2004 hours yesterday and David Ringer of Birdstack has organised a community project, Birds of the Solstice, to cover a period of 12 hours before and 12 hours after the solstice. During this 24-hour period, birdwatchers, bloggers, photographers and nature lovers have been urged to write accounts of their birding experience.

My day started with the familiar high-pitch whistles of a couple of Black-naped Orioles, winter visitors to Singapore. They visited my tiny garden at around 0820 hours, to leave after a few minutes. These are shy birds, usually hiding behind foliage. They tend to fly off once someone approaches. Up until 1130 hours, one or more birds came and went, each making the same or different calls – and there were many different calls!

The garden was quiet until 1650-1750 hours when the birds returned and started calling. The next morning (i.e. this morning), the call started again at 0730 hours and stopped by 0800 hours.

So ended the 24-hour period.

In all, I was able to record a total of 11 distinctly different calls. Wells (2007) has recorded more than ten different calls but my amateurish interpretation is so different from his that they definitely need to be refined. So I will not list them until much later.

YC Wee
December 2008

Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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